January 25, 2012

Visionaries: Knights of the Magical Light

I loved this series when I was a kid, similar vein as other science fiction meets swords & sorcery animated fantasy concept like Brave Starr and He-Man. It was originally a range of action figures from Hasbro, released in 1987. This action figure range was promoted by two different media, telling the stories of the characters. The better known of the two was a half hour animated television series made by Sunbow Productions in the same year, but there was also a comic book series issued by Star Comics.

Set on the planet of Prysmos, where its three blazing suns have recently gone into convergence - signalling the rebirth of the Age of Magic. As all their previous technology has now gone dead, its people quickly revert into a feudalistic medieval lifestyle. Shortly thereafter the wizard Merklynn announces a challenge; all those who can reach his shrine will be granted powers of transformation and other magical powers. The show follows the fourteen successful characters; the good Spectral Knights and the evil Darkling Lords.

The toyline was not a big success, and this led to both the series and the comic being discontinued after a very short run. The comic lasted only 6 issues, and was cancelled halfway through a four-part storyline. The animated series lasted one season of 13 episodes, and was not picked up for a second, possibly because all Sunbow cartoons came to an end after The Transformers Season 4 three-parter; The Rebirth, and G.I. Joe: The Movie, when Sunbow lost its contract and could not get it renewed. It is the only Hasbro property to be produced by Sunbow on their own, without the aid of Marvel Productions. Sunbow also used TMS Entertainment, in Japan for the overseas animation work for this show, who also animated hits like Bionic Six, The Real Ghostbusters, Tiny Toon Adventures and Animaniacs.

See some episodes here:

Here's a nice history of TMS Animation Studios by Cereal Geek:

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